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May 14: On this day... From the first small pox jab to a patent for condensed milk

Published May 14, 2022


964 Said to have been the “most wicked of popes”, John XII, 29, dies. His pontificate was infamous for depravity and worldliness and his lifestyle was more suited to the secular prince that he was. He was depicted as a coarse, immoral man in the writings which remain about his papacy, whose life was such that the Lateran Palace was spoken of as a brothel.

1607 Colonists establish Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, unaware that they had landed amid the worst drought in 800 years.

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1796 Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox inoculation.

1800 The process of moving the US capital from Philadelphia to Washington DC begins.

1804 The Lewis and Clark Expedition begins its historic journey to explore and chart the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase territory.

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1853 Gail Borden, newspaper publisher and inventor, patents condensed milk.

1873 The Ohrigstad River area in the Lydenburg district is proclaimed a gold field after the discovery of gold in the Selati River.

1918 Following the death of his eldest son, Reginald, on the Western Front, Cape Town Mayor Sir Harry Hands inaugurates the Two-minute Silence to honour the loss of life in conflict. Impressed, Sir Percy FitzPatrick, who wrote Jock of the Bushveld, writes to Lord Milner about it, and the idea is taken up after Armistice Day in London in 1918.

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1944 German generals Rommel, Speidel and Von Stülpnagel attempt to assassinate Hitler. The failed attempt costs them their lives.

1948 Israel is declared an independent state, but the next day, Arab states attack it.

1961 The Freedom Riders (US civil rights activists who rode buses into segregated areas) have their bus fire-bombed in Alabama, and are beaten by an angry mob.

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1973 Patrick Laurence, a journalist from The Star, is charged for publishing a statement by Robert Sobukwe.

2004 A plane crashes in the Amazon jungle near Manaus, Brazil, killing 33 people.

2018 Using specially designed artificial legs, Chinese double amputee Xia Boyu, who was crippled on the world’s highest peak 40 years before, summits Mt Everest. - The Historian

The Independent on Saturday